The message below seems a good example of "cultish" way of thinking:
1) First, a reference saying this teaching is not for "anybody". The idea of being a selected people with unique ideas create a clear distinction between "we" and "them". Also, how many healthy religious organizations will say "Feel free to be with us or not". Isn't this MERE COMMON SENSE?, so there is no need to be said. However, from a cult perspective, for someone who already invested some time and effort inside that organization, it would sound more like "if you don't like the truth or fun like us, then better to go away". It is an obvious pressure tactic masked as "free will".
2) Please notice the text below refers to Mr. Ole Nydahl as the only reference for Buddhist knowledge without any cross-reference to traditional sources. In other words, it is not the question that "we misunderstand", but that we are not aware about the qualities and thoughts of the great leader. I think there is no way to justify the horrible things that Mr. Nydahl said about Islam. The argument provided below could be used for DW members as well.... Like it was referred to Islam, there is always an argument that some DW Members may be "backwards" and some "good ones"..... The simple act of trying to justify what goes in Mr. Ole Nydahl's mind seems to provide a good insight on how a member in DW may become enmeshed with the leader's thoughts after some time.
3) The sexual references are absurd since it uses Mr. Nydahl's thoughts are the reference for orthodoxy of buddhist teachings. I lived in Tibet and I am puzzled with the arrogant references that sexual experiences are being used in DW are the "real thing". The person below seems to have been in contact only with the shallow interpretation of DW, so everything is a circular reasoning. While sexual and sensorial aspects have some part in Tibetan practices, this is anything like the person below says. In addition, the incredible insistence from Mr. Nydahl on people to have open mind about sex is totally out of purpose. I heard references on which Mr. Nydahl clearly refers this openness is necessary, so that DW would not have people with mental tribulations.... The problem is not only this idea of "free love", but also combined with a freewheeling party mentality with a lot of alcohol around. i am really sorry, but all of this is a real poor excuse of using Buddhism to make Mr. Nydahl's Hippie experiences in the 60s or 70s to last forever...
I am new here, but I came across this thread and thought I might contribute my perspective.
I have some experience with Diamond Way -- but I'm not in any way an official
spokesman for them (if there is such a thing); I don't have any sort of leadership position either.
Reading this thread, it sounds like a very different group from the one I am involved in.
I suppose we all take away our own interpretations of what we perceive.
I don't think Diamond Way is for everybody. Lama Ole himself says that. We have
this saying, "finding the hat that fits". For some people, the Diamond Way hat fits very
well. For other people, it doesn't. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them,
or anything wrong with Diamond Way -- it just means they need to look elsewhere.
People above have raised all sorts of issues about Lama Ole's qualifications to be a Lama,
the legitimacy of the 17th Karmapa (as recognized by Diamond Way), etc. I think these
boil down to interpretations of Buddhist teachings, and on different accounts of events that
happened years ago. I wasn't there years ago, and I don't feel qualified to judge on complicated
questions about the proper interpretations of traditional teachings. What I can say, is that I
(and a lot of other people) have found Diamond Way to be a place which contributes to my
spiritual well-being, which is why I continue to be associated with it. Because of that,
these sort of arguments (which I'm out of my depth to judge) don't sway me.
I also think, in terms of Lama Ole's attitude to Islam: I think there are two types of Muslims
-- backward, conservative types; and the more secular progressive sort. I think in terms of
the first group, Ole's criticisms are 100% on target, if maybe a bit bluntly worded. In terms
of the second group, I think Ole just doesn't seem to notice they are there, and I think if he
would make some more effort to acknowledge them I think people would be less critical of
him in this area. Also, although I see the political and social usefulness of supporting liberal
/ progressive interpretations of Islam, one has to ask, whose interpretation is more
historically authentic? And I'm afraid, as much as it is politically inopportune to say, that
the more backward sort is probably more historically authentic; and one aspect of Ole's
distinctive vocation is to point out those truths that some of us would rather ignore.
I'd also like to comment on claims of "sexual abuse". I think some people misinterpret
both the open attitude to relationships which is common (but not compulsory) in the Diamond Way
community, and also the traditional Tantric Buddhist spiritual approach to sexuality. Some people
like the idea of openness in relationships; other people find that concept hard to fathom. But there
is nothing specifically Diamond Way about that, it is also a broader (albeit minority) view within
Western culture, shared by groups of all sorts of different persuasions, spiritual or secular. I myself,
I have always been inclined to that attitude towards relationships, long before I ever even heard of
Diamond Way, so that aspect doesn't bother me. But I understand a lot of people can't understand it;
maybe they should just live and let live, rather than condemn them?
The other aspect of the sexual question -- traditionally, in Western culture, the sexual and spiritual
domains were considered largely disjoint, except in the specific case of marriage. So, the idea of
a spiritual teacher having a sexual relationship seems highly improper. But, I think the impropriety
really comes from the betrayal of trust -- in the Christian tradition, for instance, ministers of religion
are expected to behave in a way which excludes sexual relations with either anyone (celibacy), or
no one but their marital partner. Thus, for a religious functionary in that sort of tradition to engage
in a sexual relationship with a follower is to violate the teachings of their religion, and thus violate
the trust which the follower has placed in them as a minister. But, if a religion doesn't teach that,
then no such violation of trust occurs. I'd say the same thing about attempts to analogize medical
ethics into spirituality -- if you go to see a physician, you don't expect a sexual relationship, and
thus for a physician to engage in one is inappropriate. On the other hand, do you expect a sexual
relationship if you go to a spiritual teacher? Well, that really depends on the nature of their teachings.
If they teach e.g. "no sex outside of marriage", which would judge that such a relationship is improper,
and then seek to engage in one anyway, that suggests they are being abusive. Whereas, if they teach
"free love" (to use an old phrase), and offer you the opportunity to participate in that with them,
how is that a betrayal? It's not a betrayal; its just their being truthful to their own teachings.
I understand that, for someone to describe their experiences as "sexual abuse", they must be in
great personal pain. At the same time, I feel that the term should really be restricted to cases
involve minors, or those of restricted capacities (e.g. the intellectually disabled), or non-consensual
cases (i.e. rape). If an adult of sound mind consensually engages in sexual activity, then I don't
think we should call it abuse, even if they later regret doing it. I'm sure some people have had
sexual experiences in the context of Diamond Way which they later regretted -- just as people
have had sexual experiences they have regretted outside Diamond Way as well -- but unless they
involved lack of consent or other violations of the law, I don't think its fair to label them abuse.
Thanks for listening